February 27, 2020 at 2:09 pm #5659
Its an odd thing that possibly one of the worst crimes in Britain is being a grass.
People know people are drink driving, fiddling tax, fiddling benefits, robbing from work and other things, but would never report them to the authorities. The only time I see grassing spoken of in positive terms is if a tradesman does a bad job, and people sometimes say grass them to the HMRC.
Its actually quite an odd thing really, eg. I know of people who drink drive on narrow lanes, and I know people who will be walking along those same lanes in the dark. But there is no way I will be ringing the police, but if someone got injured or worse by a drunk driver I knew, I would feel pretty bad.
Do you grass people up, do other countries have different attitudes to this?
February 27, 2020 at 2:11 pm #5660
For most of your examples the magnitude of impact on others is low – typically it is someone against a big bad faceless corporation (albeit one of those is the public money pot).
When there is no direct impact on a person – they are less likely to “grass” – your exception – “tradesmen does a bad job” – proves the point – when someone is impacted by the person – they will grass.
The exception is your drink driving example where the possible impact is high against specific individuals- you are absolutely right – one day someone you know (or you yourself) will get injured by a drink driver, maybe not one you know, but one that someone knows who like yourself didn’t grass.
Maybe you’ll be ok with that?
More worryingly is the various pubs who have full knowledge that their customers will be driving and continue to serve them.
February 27, 2020 at 2:12 pm #5661
I’ve phoned the police when I was following someone who was driving VERY erratically in front of me (speed varying between 30 and 80, getting wheels off the road repeatedly, veering into opposite lane repeatedly).
Ditto the bloke who ran into me in an empty car park and when we got out to discuss the matter was effectively ‘out of it’
February 27, 2020 at 2:15 pm #5662
I’d like to think I would grass up a drink driver, no matter who they were to me. Thankfully, I have never been in that situation, but I would first tell them that I will drive them home and if they won’t let me then I would like to think I would call the police.
February 27, 2020 at 2:17 pm #5663
When in these situations, I like to remind myself of that wonderful character, Mrs DoAsYouWouldBeDoneBy (I always thought it was a Beatrix Potter creation, but on Googlling it just now, I find that it’s from the Water Babies, which was apparently inspired by/written at Malham, so there’s a neat tie-in to ukh!).
February 27, 2020 at 2:18 pm #5664
I’ve reported fly tippers and their number plates to the local authority website and I’ll carry on doing so. I don’t care if that makes me an “old curtain twitcher” or not.
February 27, 2020 at 2:19 pm #5665
I don’t think that being a grass is “one of the worst crimes in Britain”. There are neighbourhoods where this might be the perception, usually places with a high crime rate, but in the vast majority of the country this isn’t the case. Where it is prevalent it isn’t the crime reporting that is the problem, it is the fear of the repercussions from the rest of the community. It is never a good thing and glorifying it with its own term ‘grass’ and offering tacit public support is dubious behaviour.
February 27, 2020 at 2:22 pm #5666
I think you would see repercussions in most communities. If sat in my local pub and one said, I warned Charlie about his tax evading but he would not listen, so I phoned the revenue and told them. I doubt it would go down well with others who know him there. You could replace tax evading with drink driving or insurance fraud. All these thing cost us all and we all collectively pay the price, just seems illogical to me. What’s the attitude to this kind of thing in the Netherlands, they seem very liberal, but do seem to expect people to toe the line.
February 27, 2020 at 2:24 pm #5667
Your introduction statement “that possibly one of the worst crimes in Britain is being a grass” is nonsense. It isn’t a crime, it is crap behaviour, the ‘crime’ is not to be a grass where serious offences are concerned.
However giving you the benefit of the doubt, you have now qualified your question into the much more specific moral dilemma amongst a group of friends over (usually) less serious offences. My only comment here is that there are many stages between warning someone and reporting them to the authorities that you can exercise amongst a group of friends.
February 27, 2020 at 2:26 pm #5668
I think some of it is a matter of is it worth bothering with? If you noticed someone drop a chocolate bar wrapper I’d at most ask them to pick it up, or pick it up for them and say “excuse me, you dropped this”. I wouldn’t then phone to the local council to send someone out to track down this litter dropper and give them an £80 fine, having filmed them in the act on my phone.
Why? Partly because is it really worth my or the council’s effort? And also because no one is perfect, we all have probably found ourselves outside the letter of the law now and then. A certain amount of leeway from each other and law enforcement is needed to allow people to live without it feeling like we’re in some sort of police state, but sometimes the invisible line is crossed and people need reporting.
February 27, 2020 at 2:27 pm #5669
When I said crime, I meant as what society does not like or disapproves of. Interestingly the word Crime does relate specifically to “an action or omission which constitutes an offence and is punishable by law.” so really I should have used the word offence “a thing that constitutes a violation of what is judged to be right or natural.”.
So what I should have said people would seem to perceive grassing, informing, whistleblowing, or call it what you will, as more offensive than the crimes that they are reporting.
As I have said previously I am also interested in how other countries see this, possibly where the citizens maybe feel more trusting of the state.
It is interesting that you call it crap behaviour, when our country seems to have a huge tax black hole , which impacts us all vis things such as the NHS and Social Care, yet telling on a tax evader would be “crap behaviour”. I am not saying you are wrong, just that I find it curious.
February 27, 2020 at 2:30 pm #5670
I came from a council house area where being a grass was a crime, a crime against your fellow working class group. In fact where I grew up even serious crimes of violence were not reported to the police as they would be dealt with by relatives or pals and the polis were kept out of it where possible unless it was murder. I remember my best pals brother got stabbed in a gang fight and hospitalised and the Dad and uncles screaming at my pal and me in the hospital to tell them who did it so they would deal with it themselves. And a neighbour grassing me and some pals to our primary school head for stealing from a local supermarket when we were about 10 years old and my Mum slapping the grassing mother about in the street and having to get pulled off her.
But that was the 70s and 80s its a bit different now. There is still a mentality though of not grassing on people who are like yourself ie not posh, well of folk because ordinary people who are struggling, have enough to contend with so grassing on them for drug use etc or scamming a loan company or other financially related stuff or shoplifting is seen as gross betrayal of struggling folk which then makes you the enemy.
Of course its all relevant as I once grassed up a smack dealer to the police that lived in the close next door as it was getting ridiculous with used needles lying in the street etc that kids or anyone could accidentally get jagged with of you were wearing flip flops etc. Many years ago I was once confronted by a guy with a shotgun when I opened the door in a pals house once as the guy was a coke dealer demanding payment of a substantial tab and once I had to take a knife off the boy downstairs as he was threatening his mum with it for money for smack but you didn’t go to the police, no way, out of the question.
I remember in the nineties we used to hide the car keys of pals or work colleagues who were out of it so that they had no means to get in their vehicle and had to get a taxi.
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